20 October 2017

SOFE Berlin: Van der Kleij plots blockchain startup network

25 November 2016  |  9805 views  |  0 Eric Van der Kleij of Level39

Former Level39 head honcho Eric van der Kleij is seeking the support of financial heavyweights like Swift and big international banks for the creation of a global network of blockchain labs and accelerators for tech startups.

Speaking to delegates at Swift's Operations Forum Europe event in Berlin, Van der Kleij said the new initiative would seek to invest in 104 projects and startups each year. The ambition is to have five cities operational within three years, beginning with inaugural programmes in London and Zurich.

Van der Kleij's consultancy DV2C was most recently involved in mentoring startups and corporate partners for the Swiss Kickstart Accelerator, an initiative of DigitalSwitzerland which saw six of the 30 small firms selected walk away with engagements for proof-of-concept trials from the likes of UBS, Credit Suisse, Swisscom and Raiffeisen Switzerland

Van der Kleij will be looking to replicate this experience in the blockchain startup ecosystem and leverage his recent appointment as chairman of the advisory group and special adviser, fintech and blockchain for the UK Government's global entrepreneur programme.

During his speech, Van der Kleij lavished praise on Swift's involvement in the Hyperledger open source blockchain initiative and its own internal programmes to explore the application of distributed ledger technology for member banks, which are currently on show at SOFE.

Referring to his aspirations for the putative blockchain startup network, he said: "We hope that Swift will join us to create a new global centre of excellence for blockchain and distributed ledgers."

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